Don’t Forget To Read The Comments

Filed Under: Misc.

The comments section is an interesting place here at OMAAT because there is a little bit of everything.

Like anywhere else on the internet, there are people who seem to take pleasure in telling others how much they suck. If you ever feel a little full of yourself, just post something online. It’s a surefire way to give the trolls of the world a chance to try and knock you down a peg.

I think it was Gary at View from the Wing who said those comments are often more of a reflection of the person writing them than the person they’re directed at. I tend to agree.


It’s Much More Than Trolls Saying Useless Things

Beyond the trolls, there is so much more to the comments sections in the miles and points community. There are smart, travel-savvy readers who are willing to share their knowledge. They add to the discussion and make the blogs better. And that’s definitely true here.

Take my recent post about Verizon’s new international data option for example. I put it together quickly as an FYI to Verizon customers that they have another option when traveling. I didn’t think it was a particularly great deal but figured some readers might find it useful.

A reader named Roger who commented about the simplicity of the new offering being the reason he signed up was exactly why I thought this might be useful and worth posting.


But the other readers added to the discussion and took it beyond Verizon. Some pointed out they had a much faster connection than the 2G service I experienced roaming with T-Mobile in Ireland. Others pointed out Google Fi is a great new option for staying connected abroad. And others discussed local SIM cards.

It’s great to see readers asking and answering questions. These contributions clearly add value to the post. And this is just one quick example.

The point of all this is to say if you’re only reading the posts and skipping the comments, you’re missing out on some great information. Trip reports often elicit additional data points of good and bad experiences at a property or an airline. I find that valuable as I decide which airline I want to fly or where I want to stay. So I always try to click through to the post and read the comments when there is a topic I find interesting.

Adding Your Own Avatar to Comments

One other note on the comments section: Some of you might have noticed some commenters have pictures (or avatars) next to their names in their comments. Before I started contributing to the blog, I had no idea why some people had avatars while others didn’t.

Then Ben showed me how to use Gravatar to add my picture to the blog. I like how the avatar helps foster that sense of community when people see a small glimpse of you or your interests with an avatar. So, if you want to set one up, here is the link to Gravatar. It’s a pretty easy process.

For those who enjoy telling people they suck, perhaps this image would work for your Gravatar.


Don’t Forget About the Ask Lucky Forum

Another great resource for this “community” of travel geeks is the Ask Lucky forum. As great as the blog post comments are, if you have a question about something specific it might not be on topic for the latest posts.ask-lucky

Ask Lucky allows you to search for the answer or ask your own question and have it answered by Ben, Tiffany or any of the other knowledgeable readers over there. Skimming through the questions and answers on the forum, I can tell you this is a great resource.

Finally, thanks to those of you who do comment with helpful tips and insights. I know I’ve benefited from them more times than I can count.

  1. Ben! You should switch to the Disqus comment system, everything is managed by Disqus. People can sign in with their Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. and it automatically can pull a picture. It’s great! The best part is that you can actually reply to a specific comment, and if that reader wants an email when he/she gets a reply, they can have it. It’s free, and it’s actually downloadable right from within WordPress. Let me know if you want more info.

  2. I comment a lot on Gary’s blog a lot because his post suck, they really do. However I love OMAAT. I do not often post on here however everything I have learnt over the years has been due to this blog and not Gary..

  3. I love OMAAT – it’s probably my favourite website. But there is one infuriating aspect, and that’s the negative commenters. They really get me angry sometime – they can be really nasty. (And if they don’t like what they’re reading, why don’t they just go elsewhere?) Luckily they’re in the minority, and most people are pretty decent. But there are some nasty people out there …

  4. I agree with Nolan. Disqus should be used as the comment section. It’s a free plugin and most big blogs use it, including most tech blogs I read.

    When I was running the Travel Hack Guy blog, I used Disqus and it makes it much easier to interact with readers and follow up on responses and receive notifications for both the author and readers.

    Check it out. If you need assistance, please reach out to me. I do IT for a living 🙂

  5. No Disqus should NOT be used, historically it has been slow piece of turd software that further slow down sites. is slow enough as it’s.

    Signing in with Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc is a BUG, NOT a feature.

    Considering the amount of problems has had with malware on site in the past I would simply not trust any login using something that personal. And I’m not sure if I can be bother to setup a spam/sign up account just to comment on Luckys articles.

  6. For some, the blogs have replaced the traditional posting sites – FT and Milepoint>Insideflyer. The blogger has extracted the important subjects and then there are a few days of comments to discuss the subject. Quicker than trying to follow so many threads. I would say Ben and Gary’s blogs caused the demise of Milepoint and resulted in its replacement Flyertalk will remain, but I think it remains to be seen how InsideFlyer works out.

  7. Thanks for the tip & for your take on the pearls one may find in the comment section of a blog! I totally agree with @Malc about negative readers, but have truly learnt from Lucky’s gracefulness to be focused on what’s truly important, the readers who DO care & genuinely appreciate the value of the information that is shared on this blog. Remember the focus is on the carrot when you pull it out of the ground, it will come up with some dirt, but you will be enjoying the sweetness of the veggie and not the grime that came with it! BTW @Nolan has a point!

  8. I have learned so much from comments here that I’m truly thankful. However I’m astounded that any critical comment get attacked by some. Yes there are trolls but there are also reasonable critical comments that others feel the need to attack since they think only positive viewpoints are allowed.

  9. Just to clarify, @Nemme is right and “reasonable critical comments” are great. And I’d like to think we all have a pretty liberal interpretation of “reasonable.” The people I’m calling trolls are the ones who don’t offer anything more than venom and don’t have any awareness that real people write these posts. To put it another way, if a comment is something you’d be embarrassed to say to someone’s face — without the anonymity the internet provides — maybe you’re better off thinking of another way to phrase it.

  10. The United forum at FT has become over-censored of any too-harsh UA criticism, as well as overrun with suspicious new users who sign up and immediately start praising UA. And there are a couple obvious ones with clear UA business relationships who “fly” under the radar and never disclose it, even after 18,725 posts.

    The blogs are much better now.

  11. @Mike

    It’s not always venom. Sometimes the bloggers’ behavior incite the very reaction that commenters spit at them in the comments.

    I’ve approached Gary hat-in-hand multiple times to suggest that his clickbait posts may be incredibly upsetting to someone who values his time (myself included). He told me that my comment was “duly noted”. It has now been 3 years and nothing has changed. You think Ben is any different? Consider how many posts he’s written where he’s boldly claimed that the haters “don’t bother him anymore”. Your haters are your greatest opportunity for self-reflection, and Ben Schlappig would rather bury his head in the sand and write about drinking Krug and flying Emirates with his bf over and over instead of considering what a cringey child he can be sometimes. You’d think he’d learned something after begging the internet for money so he could ride Etihad Residence, right? No, he dedicated a post about how much he doesn’t care what other people think of him. Real classy.

    Do you think trolls just magically appear out of nowhere? Some of us start by politely asking the blogger to stop publicizing content that was meant to be private, to point out where the blog could improve, or to stop posting self-aggrandizing content (e.g. Gary Leff’s “look at me I made it into a news article” posts or Ben’s “look at me I argued with a hotel to get what I’m entitled to” posts). When those “reasonable” requests get ignored and fall by the wayside, I feel no compulsion to consider their precious little feelings.

    Some “trolls” may shy away from actual human interaction but I for one yearn for the opportunity to tell Gary Leff what a self-important moron he actually is and to tell Ben he’s a spoiled man-child playing at being a socialite. And maybe if I ever get the chance to meet you I’d love to tell you to stop riding on the coattails of a loser and to go out and get a real job.

  12. @ David:

    You do realize that Ben and Gary are quite approachable at Frequent Traveler University events, right? And one need not buy the FTU membership to be at the same hotel they are at?

    So, by all means, don’t be shy.

    That being said, why on earth do you read things written by people you obviously think are awful people? Isn’t reading something written by a “self-important moron” or “spoiled man-child” or “loser” a complete waste of your time? Surely a smart, successful and mature person like you has better things to do, Perhaps you could even write a blog- if there’s an audience for spoiled losers and morons, surely there must be one for you, no?

    Or is your secret hope that confronting them in person will get them to fall down on their knees and thank you for correcting them in the error of their ways? That people will see your obvious intelligence and honor you for it? In that case… good luck with that, and in your quest in being the necessary corrective for the wrongs you bravely address in the comment section of the bloggers you so despise.

  13. Today is something of a first. Credit and Stvr tie for Best Comment of the Day. I don’t think I’ve ever had a tie before.

    Sometimes bad stuff needs to be called out for what it is — ill-informed or just plain bad.

    The original post here, for example, defies description and is pretty close to comment-proof. I mean, really, don’t you think it speaks for itself?

    There’s a huge amount of great information posted here. We all know that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t read the blog. There’s no need to get defensive.

    This blog is great. Isn’t that enough?

  14. The problem is when any negative comment or not, whether constructive or not, gets called out for being a negative troll. Which does happen on here at times.

  15. @No Name

    In my experience, Disqus has been great, and I use it on my personal site, which has a piece of crap hosting provider, and Disqus still loads fine. The sign-in itself would be free from BoardingArea harm, as Disqus processes every sign-in on their own server, which is safe and secure.

    Disqus is used on many top websites such as ABC News, TechnoBuffalo, Android Police, even TMZ. It’s super simple as well. And no, I don’t work for Disqus, it’s just that your comment system could use some improvements. Please seriously consider this Ben!

  16. HA ! @David and @Aaron – TRUTH. You also have to realize the general reader-sheep here as well, comprised mostly of Logo fanboys and wanna-be hangers-on that would never DARE to disagree with their idols, lest they don’t get a rare name mention that justifies their existence for another calendar year …

    I will say this politely, but Ben’s life seems mostly empty and transparently sad. He needs to stop with the overcompensating Krug life, the real housewives-esque entitlement and the “Ford Kardashian” reality show (yes Ben, we all remember when we finally got someone to go out with us, thanks for the constant “subtle” reminders that you finally have a BF). Stick to more travel INFO and less narcissism. You’ll be amazed at how many less personal / troll-y comments you get.

  17. I always take time to read the comments. As you say there is often more information to be had from the contributions of readers.

    But please don’t go to using Disqus! In my opinion, it is the most clumsy to have to use. Many people either don’t have Facebook and Twitter too… or don’t like using those accounts for signing in somewhere. And if that is the case and one uses an email address, one must allways have to remember a password! Nope. Disqus. Meh. 😉

  18. I suppose I should add that if you go to Disqus,I won’t comment anymore. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter.

    Depending upon how you look at it, that’s either a plus or a minus, of course.

  19. It’s not so much what people say, as the way they say it. Tone is difficult to communicate in writing. I really don’t like the venom people display in some of these comments. Sure, some of the blogs are not informative to me, but some are so it’s a case of taking the good with the bad. Trite as it seems, being angry takes too much energy.

  20. +1enomynous.
    And, please do not switch to Disqus. If I have to look up my password, I just won’t bother commenting.

    (I get such a kick out of the trolls who complain about the waste of time these blogs are. Why can’t they just stop reading? Hmmmm?)

  21. Disqus has the option to create a Disqus account, or sign in with Google. It’s not just Facebook or Twitter. A reader can easily change their view to newest comments, or “best” comments, which shows which comments have been upvoted the most first. Yes, you can vote on comments with Disqus. It’s pretty fantastic.

  22. Discus is terrible. If I have to sign in to use it, it means I have to register. That’s painful, I have enough services that I need to remember my credentials to, I’d just rather not post if you’re going to add friction to the experience. And signing in using FB, Twitter, etc credentials… It’s not something I want to do… Usually because of a trust issue. The current system is simple and that’s the way it should be.

  23. I don’t think that Disqus is awful or great and that some of the concerns about it are overblown here. Does it add a layer, yes. You are able to set up an account with or without social media and if you are an active visitor you will likely remain logged in. With or without it though I’d love to see a move to nested comments that are displayed more logically. Being able to upvote would be great too, though not crucial.

  24. If people are saying they’ll stop commenting if Lucky switches to Disqus, that means there will be less trolls, right? If so, that would be great! 😀

  25. The one thing I would like best is threaded comments – I find it annoying (personal preference) that I would have to jump up and down in a search to see what some people are replying to.

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